Monday, September 3, 2012

48 Historical Sacred Sites Of The World

1. Kata Tjuta (Australia)
Australie Red Center Kata Tjutas OlgasAustralie Red Center Kata Tjutas Olgas [ Photo by Bruno.Menetrier / public domain ]
Kata Tjuta, sometimes written Tjuṯa (Kata Joota), and also known as Mount Olga (or colloquially as The Olgas), are a group of large domed rock formations or bornhardts located about 365 km (227 mi) southwest of Alice Springs, in the southern part of the Northern Territory, central Australia. Uluru, 25 km (16 mi) to the east, and Kata Tjuta form the two major landmarks within the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. The 36 domes, covering an area of 21.68 km2 (8.37 sq mi), are composed of conglomerate, a sedimentary rock consisting of cobbles and boulders of varying rock types including granite and basalt, cemented by a matrix of sandstone. The highest point, Mount Olga, is 1,066 m (3,497 ft) above sea level, or approximately 546 m (1,791 ft) above the surrounding plain (198 m (650 ft) higher than Uluru). 

2. Uluru (Australia)
Dawn view of Uluru (Ayers Rock) with Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) in backgroundDawn view of Uluru (Ayers Rock) with Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) in background [ Photo by Leonard G. / public domain ]
Satellite ImageryUluru (), also known as Ayers Rock, is a large sandstone rock formation in the southern part of the Northern Territory, central Australia. It lies 335 km (208 mi) south west of the nearest large town, Alice Springs; 450 km (280 mi) by road. Kata Tjuta and Uluru are the two major features of the Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park. Uluru is sacred to the Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara, the Aboriginal people of the area. It has many springs, waterholes, rock caves and ancient paintings. Uluru is listed as a World Heritage Site. Uluru is one of Australia's most recognisable natural icons. The world-renowned sandstone formation stands 348 m (1,142 ft) high (863 m/2,831 ft above sea level) with most of its bulk below the ground, and measures 9.4 km (5.8 mi) in circumference.
3. Caracol (Belize)
Caracol PanoramaCaracol Panorama [ Photo by Pgbk87 / CC BY-SA 3.0 ]
Satellite ImageryCaracol or El Caracol is the name given to a large ancient Maya archaeological site, located in what is now the Cayo District of Belize. It is situated approximately 25 miles south of Xunantunich and the town of San Ignacio Cayo, at an elevation of 1500 feet (460 m) above sea-level, in the foothills of the Maya Mountains. The site was the most important political centre of Lowland Maya during the Classic Period within Belize. In AD 650, the urban area of Caracol had a radius of approximately 10 kilometers around the site's epicenter. It covered an area much larger than present day Belize City (the largest metropolitan area in the country of Belize) and supported more than twice the modern city's population. The site was first reported by a native logger named Rosa Mai, who came across its remains in 1937 while searching for mahogany hardwood trees to exploit. (based on a wikipedia article / cc by-sa)
4. Tiwanaku (Bolivia)
The Gateway of the Sun from the Tiwanku civilization in BoliviaThe Gateway of the Sun from the Tiwanku civilization in Bolivia [ Photo by Mhwater / public domain ]
Satellite ImageryTiwanaku (Spanish: Tiahuanaco and Tiahuanacu) is an important Pre-Columbian archaeological site in western Bolivia, South America. Tiwanaku is recognized by Andean scholars as one of the most important precursors to the Inca Empire, flourishing as the ritual and administrative capital of a major state power for approximately five hundred years. The ruins of the ancient city state are near the south-eastern shore of Lake Titicaca in the La Paz Department, Ingavi Province, Tiwanaku Municipality, about 72 km (44 miles) west of La Paz. The site was first recorded in written history by Spanish conquistador and self-acclaimed “first chronicler of the Indies” Pedro Cieza de León. Leon stumbled upon the remains of Tiwanaku in 1549 while searching for the Inca capital Collasuyu.
5. El Fuerte de Samaipata (Bolivia)
Overview of the carved rock at Fuerte de SamaipataOverview of the carved rock at Fuerte de Samaipata [ Photo by Mjtimber / public domain ]
Satellite ImageryEl Fuerte de Samaipata (Fort Samaipata), also known simply as 'El Fuerte', is an archaeological site and UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the Santa Cruz Department, Florida Province, Bolivia. It is situated in the eastern foothills of the Bolivian Andes, and is a popular tourist destination for Bolivians and foreigners alike. It is served by the nearby town of Samaipata. It is not actually a military fortification but it is generally considered a pre-Columbian religious site, built by the Chanes, a pre-Inca culture of Arawak origin. There are also ruins of an Inca city built near the temple; the city was built during the Inca expansion to the southeast. Both Incas and Chanes suffered several raids from Guarani warriors that invaded the region from time to time. Eventually, the Guarani warriors conquered the plains and valleys of Santa Cruz and destroyed Samaipata. 
6. Christ the Redeemer (Brazil)
Cristo Redentor statue on top of Corcovado, a mountain towering over Rio de Janeiro. In the background the Ipanema and Leblon beaches separate the lagoon from the Atlantic Ocean.Cristo Redentor statue on top of Corcovado, a mountain towering over Rio de Janeiro. In the background the Ipanema and Leblon beaches separate the lagoon from the Atlantic Ocean.
Satellite ImageryChrist the Redeemer (Portuguese: Cristo Redentor) is a statue of Jesus Christ in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; considered the second largest Art Deco statue in the world. The statue is 39.6 metres (130 ft) tall, including its 9.5 meter (31 feet) pedestal, and 30 metres (98 ft) wide. It weighs 635 tonnes (700 short tons), and is located at the peak of the 700-metre (2,300 ft) Corcovado mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park overlooking the city. A symbol of Christianity, the statue has become an icon of Rio and Brazil. It is made of reinforced concrete and soapstone, and was constructed between 1922 and 1931. The idea for erecting a large statue atop Corcovado was first suggested in the mid-1850s, when Catholic priest Pedro Maria Boss requested financing from Princess Isabel to build a large religious monument. 
7. Kyaiktiyo (Myanmar)
Golden Rock near Kyaikto, MyanmarGolden Rock near Kyaikto, Myanmar [ Photo by Ralf-André Lettau / free for use ]
Satellite ImageryKyaiktiyo Pagodais a well-known Buddhist pilgrimage site in Mon State, Myanmar. It is a small pagoda (7.3 metres (24 ft)) built on the top of a granite boulder covered with gold leaves pasted on by devotees. According to legend, the Golden Rock itself is precariously perched on a strand of the Buddha's hair. The rock seems to defy gravity, as it perpetually appears to be on the verge of rolling down the hill. The rock and the pagoda are at the top of Mt. Kyaiktiyo. It is the third most important Buddhist pilgrimage site in Burma after the Shwedagon Pagoda and the Mahamuni Pagoda. A glimpse of the "gravity defying" Golden Rock is believed to be enough of an inspiration for any person to turn to Buddhism. (based on a wikipedia article / cc by-sa)
8. Bagan (Myanmar)
Bagan, Myanmar. Bagan became a central powerbase of the mid 11th century King Anawrahta who unified Burma under Theravada Buddhism.Bagan, Myanmar. Bagan became a central powerbase of the mid 11th century King Anawrahta who unified Burma under Theravada Buddhism. [ Photo by Yoyolise / CC BY 2.5 ]
Satellite ImageryBagan, formerly Pagan, is an ancient city in the Mandalay Division of Burma. Formally titled Arimaddanapura or Arimaddana (the City of the Enemy Crusher) and also known as Tambadipa (the Land of Copper) or Tassadessa (the Parched Land), it was the capital of several ancient kingdoms in Burma. It is located in the dry central plains of the country, on the eastern bank of the Ayeyarwady River, 90 miles (140 km) southwest of Mandalay. Although an application was submitted, UNESCO does not designate Bagan as a World Heritage Site. The main reason given is that the military junta (SPDC) has haphazardly restored ancient stupas, temples and buildings, ignoring original architectural styles and using modern materials which bear little or no resemblance to the original designs. (based on a wikipedia article / cc by-sa)
9. Banteay Srei (Cambodia)
Banteay Srei in Angkor, CambodiaBanteay Srei in Angkor, Cambodia [ Photo by Tsui / CC BY-SA 3.0 ]
Satellite ImageryBanteay Srei (or Banteay Srey) (Khmer: ប្រាសាទបន្ទាយស្រី) is a 10th century Cambodian temple dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. Located in the area of Angkor in Cambodia, at 13.5989 N, 103.9628 E, it lies near the hill of Phnom Dei, 25 km (15 miles) north-east of the main group of temples that once belonged to the medieval capitals of Yasodharapura and Angkor Thom. Banteay Srei is built largely of red sandstone, a medium that lends itself to the elaborate decorative wall carvings which are still observable today. The buildings themselves are miniature in scale, unusually so when measured by the standards of Angkorian construction. (based on a wikipedia article / cc by-sa)
10. Temple of Heaven (China)
The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest at the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. April,2010The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest at the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. April,2010 [ Photo by Charlie fong / CC BY-SA 3.0 ]
Satellite ImageryThe Temple of Heaven, literally the Altar of Heaven (simplified Chinese: 天坛; traditional Chinese: 天壇; pinyin: Tiāntán; Manchu: Abkai mukdehun) is a complex of Taoist buildings situated in the southeastern part of central Beijing. The complex was visited by the Emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties for annual ceremonies of prayer to Heaven for good harvest. It is regarded as a Taoist temple, although Chinese Heaven worship, especially by the reigning monarch of the day, pre-dates Taoism. The temple was occupied by the British-French Alliance during the Second Opium War. In 1900, during the Boxer Rebellion, the Eight Nation Alliance occupied the temple complex and turned it into the force's temporary command in Beijing, which lasted for one year. (based on a wikipedia article / cc by-sa)
11. Mogao Caves (China)
Mogao CavesMogao Caves [ Photo by Yaohua2000 / CC BY-SA 3.0 ]
Satellite ImageryThe Mogao Caves, or Mogao Grottoes (Chinese: 莫高窟; pinyin: mò gāo kū) (also known as the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas and Dunhuang Caves) form a system of 492 temples 25 km (15.5 miles) southeast of the center of Dunhuang, an oasis strategically located at a religious and cultural crossroads on the Silk Road, in Gansu province, China. The caves contain some of the finest examples of Buddhist art spanning a period of 1,000 years. The first caves were dug out 366 AD as places of Buddhist meditation and worship. The Mogao Caves are the best known of the Chinese Buddhist grottoes and, along with Longmen Grottoes and Yungang Grottoes, are one of the three famous ancient sculptural sites of China. The caves also have famous wall paintings. (based on a wikipedia article / cc by-sa)
12. Leshan Giant Buddha (China)
A full view of the Giant Buddha Statue of Leshan, Sichuan, ChinaA full view of the Giant Buddha Statue of Leshan, Sichuan, China [ Photo by Ariel Steiner / CC BY-SA 2.5 ]
Satellite ImageryThe Leshan Giant Buddha (simplified Chinese: 乐山大佛; traditional Chinese: 樂山大佛; pinyin: Lèshān Dàfó) was built during the Tang Dynasty (618–907AD). It is carved out of a cliff face that lies at the confluence of the Minjiang, Dadu and Qingyi rivers in the southern part of Sichuan province in China, near the city of Leshan. The stone sculpture faces Mount Emei, with the rivers flowing below his feet. It is the largest carved stone Buddha in the world and at the time of its construction was the tallest statue in the world. The Mount Emei Scenic Area, including Leshan Giant Buddha Scenic Area has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996. It was not damaged by the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. Construction was started in 713, led by a Chinese monk named Haithong. (based on a wikipedia article / cc by-sa)
13. Tombs of the Kings (Cyprus)
Tombs of the Kings (Paphos)Tombs of the Kings (Paphos) [ Photo by Mgiganteus1 / CC BY-SA 3.0 ]
Satellite ImageryThe Tombs of the Kings ("τάφοι των βασιλέων", tafi ton vasileon in Greek) is a large necropolis lying about two kilometres (little over a mile) north-west of Paphos harbour in Cyprus. The underground tombs, many of which date back to the 4th century BCE, are carved out of the solid rock, and are thought to have been the burial sites of Paphitic aristocrats and high officials up to the third century CE (the name comes from the magnificence of the tombs; no kings were in fact buried here). Some of the tombs feature Doric columns and frescoed walls. Archaeological excavations are still being carried out at the site. The tombs are cut into the native rock, and at times imitated the houses of the living. (based on awikipedia article / cc by-sa)
14. Easter Island (Chile)
Ahu Tongariki on Easter Island. These moai were restored in the 1990's by a Japanese research team after a cyclone knocked them over in the 1960's.Ahu Tongariki on Easter Island. These moai were restored in the 1990's by a Japanese research team after a cyclone knocked them over in the 1960's. [ Photo by Ian Sewell (IanAndWendy.com) / CC BY-SA 3.0 ]
Satellite ImageryEaster Island, created by the early Rapanui people. It is a World Heritage Site (as determined by UNESCO) with much of the island protected within Rapa Nui National Park. In recent times the island has served as a cautionary tale about the cultural and environmental dangers of overexploitation. Ethnographers and archaeologists also blame diseases carried by European colonizers and slave raiding of the 1860s for devastating the local peoples. Claims about the "original" Polynesian name for Easter Island include Te pito o te henua, meaning "The Navel of the land" or "The ends of the land". Pito means both navel and umbilical cord, which was considered to be the link between the world of the living (kainga) and the spiritworld Po, lying in the depths of the ocean further east. (based on a wikipedia article / cc by-sa)
15. Karnak (Egypt)
Karnak - Salle hypostyleKarnak – Salle hypostyle [ Photo by Kurohito / CC BY-SA 3.0 ]
Satellite ImageryThe Karnak Temple Complex—usually called Karnak—comprises a vast mix of ruined temples, chapels, pylons, and other buildings, notably the Great Temple of Amun and a massive structure begun by Pharaoh Ramses II (ca. 1391–1351 BC). Sacred Lake is part of the site as well. It is located near Luxor, some 500 km south of Cairo, in Egypt. The area around Karnak was the ancient Egyptian Ipet-isut ("The Most Selected of Places") and the main place of worship of the eighteenth dynasty Theban Triad with the god Amun as its head. It is part of the monumental city of Thebes. The Karnak complex takes its name from the nearby, and partly surrounded, modern village of el-Karnak, some 2.5 km north of Luxor. The complex is a vast open-air museum and the largest ancient religious site in the world. (based on a wikipedia article / cc by-sa)
16. Ramesseum (Egypt)
Mortuary Temple of Rameses II - The RamasseumMortuary Temple of Rameses II – The Ramasseum [ Photo by Steve F-E-Cameron / CC BY-SA 3.0 ]
Satellite ImageryThe Ramesseum is the memorial temple (or mortuary temple) of Pharaoh Ramesses II ("Ramesses the Great", also spelled "Ramses" and "Rameses"). It is located in the Theban necropolis in Upper Egypt, across the River Nile from the modern city of Luxor. The name – or at least its French form, Rhamesséion – was coined by Jean-François Champollion, who visited the ruins of the site in 1829 and first identified the hieroglyphs making up Ramesses's names and titles on the walls. It was originally called the House of millions of years of Usermaatra-setepenra that unites with Thebes-the-city in the domain of Amon. The design of Ramesses's mortuary temple adheres to the standard canons of New Kingdom temple architecture. (based on a wikipedia article / cc by-sa)
17. Colossi of Memnon (Egypt)
Pharaoh Amenhotep III's Sitting Colossi of Memnon statues at Luxor, Egypt.Pharaoh Amenhotep III's Sitting Colossi of Memnon statues at Luxor, Egypt. [ Photo by Than217 / CC BY 3.0 ]
Satellite ImageryThe Colossi of Memnon (known to locals as el-Colossat, or es-Salamat) are two massive stone statues of Pharaoh Amenhotep III. For the past 3400 years (since 1350 BC) they have stood in the Theban necropolis, across the River Nile from the modern city of Luxor. The twin statues depict Amenhotep III (fl. 14th century BC) in a seated position, his hands resting on his knees and his gaze facing eastwards (actually SSE in modern bearings) towards the river. Two shorter figures are carved into the front throne alongside his legs: these are his wife Tiy and mother Mutemwiya. The side panels depict the Nile god Hapy. The statues are made from blocks of quartzite sandstone which was stone quarried at el-Gabal el-Ahmar (near modern-day Cairo) and transported 675 km (420 miles) overland to Thebes. (based on a wikipedia article /cc by-sa)
18. Giza Necropolis (Egypt)
The Giza-pyramids and outskirts of Giza, EgyptThe Giza-pyramids and outskirts of Giza, Egypt [ Photo by Robster1983 / public domain ]
Satellite ImageryThe Giza Necropolis is an archaeological site on the Giza Plateau, on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt. This complex of ancient monuments includes the three pyramid complexes known as the Great Pyramids, the massive sculpture known as the Great Sphinx, several cemeteries, a workers' village and an industrial complex. It is located some 9 km (5 mi) inland into the desert from the old town of Giza on the Nile, some 25 km (15 mi) southwest of Cairo city centre. The pyramids, which have always loomed large as emblems of ancient Egypt in the Western imagination, were popularised in Hellenistic times, when the Great Pyramid was listed by Antipater of Sidon as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Today it is the only one of the ancient Wonders still in existence. (based on a wikipedia article / cc by-sa)
19. Great Sphinx of Giza (Egypt)
Great Sphinx of Giza, Egypt.Great Sphinx of Giza, Egypt. [ Photo by Barcex / CC BY-SA 3.0 ]
Satellite ImageryThe Great Sphinx of Giza (Arabic: أبو الهول‎ Abū al Hūl, English: The Terrifying One), commonly referred to as the Sphinx, is a statue of a reclining or couchant sphinx (a mythical creature with a lion's body and a human head) that stands on the Giza Plateau on the west bank of the Nile in Giza, Egypt. It is the largest monolith statue in the world, standing 73.5 metres (241 ft) long, 6 metres (20 ft) wide, and 20.22 m (66.34 ft) high. It is the oldest known monumental sculpture, and is commonly believed to have been built by ancient Egyptians of the Old Kingdom in the reign of the pharaoh Khafra (c. 2558–2532 BC). The Sphinx is located beside the pharaoh's Valley Temple and the covered causeway that led to the Mortuary Temple beside the pyramid. (based on a wikipedia article / cc by-sa)
20. Lalibela (Ethiopia)
Bete Giyorgis, the Church of St. George, in Lalibela, Ethiopia.Bete Giyorgis, the Church of St. George, in Lalibela, Ethiopia. [ Photo by Jialiang Gao www.peace-on-earth.org / CC BY-SA 3.0 ]
Satellite ImageryLalibela is a town in northern Ethiopia. Lalibela is one of Ethiopia's holiest cities, second only to Aksum, and is a center of pilgrimage for much of the country. Unlike Aksum, the population of Lalibela is almost completely Ethiopian Orthodox Christian. Lalibela was intended to be a New Jerusalem in response to the capture of Jerusalem by Muslims, and many of its historic buildings take their name and layout from buildings in Jerusalem. Lalibela is said to have seen Jerusalem and then attempted to build a new Jerusalem as his capital in response to the capture of old Jerusalem by Muslims in 1187. As such, many features have Biblical names – even the town's river is known as the River Jordan. It remained the capital of Ethiopia from the late 12th century and into the 13th century. (based on a wikipedia article / cc by-sa)
21. Tikal (Guatemala)
Temple I on The Great Plaza and North Acropolis seen from Temple II in Tikal, Guatemala, just after noon during the Mayan mid-winter/winter solstice/new year celebrationsTemple I on The Great Plaza and North Acropolis seen from Temple II in Tikal, Guatemala, just after noon during the Mayan mid-winter/winter solstice/new year celebrations [ Photo by Bjørn Christian Tørrissen / CC BY-SA 3.0 ]
Satellite ImageryTikal (or Tik’al according to the modern Mayan orthography) is one of the largest archaeological sites and urban centres of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization. It is located in the archaeological region of the Petén Basin in what is now northern Guatemala. Situated in the department of El Petén, the site is part of Guatemala's Tikal National Park and in 1979 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The ruins lie among the tropical rainforests of northern Guatemala that formed the cradle of lowland Maya civilization. The city itself was located among abundant fertile upland soils, and may have dominated a natural east—west trade route across the Yucatan Peninsula. Conspicuous trees at the Tikal park include gigantic kapok (Ceiba pentandra) the sacred tree of the Maya; Tropical cedar (Cedrela odorata), and Honduras Mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla). (based on a wikipedia article / cc by-sa)
22. Temple of Hephaestus (Greece)
Temple of Hephaestus (South side), Ancient Agora, Athens, Greece.Temple of Hephaestus (South side), Ancient Agora, Athens, Greece. [ Photo by Barcex / CC BY-SA 3.0 ]
Satellite ImageryThe Temple of Hephaestus, also known as the Hephaisteion or earlier as the Theseion, is the best-preserved ancient Greek temple; it remains standing largely as built. It is a Doric peripteral temple, and is located at the north-west side of the Agora of Athens, on top of the Agoraios Kolonos hill. From the 7th century until 1834, it served as the Greek Orthodox church of St. George Akamates. Hephaestus was the patron god of metal working and craftsmanship. There were numerous potters' workshops and metal-working shops in the vicinity of the temple, as befits the temple's honoree. Archaeological evidence suggests that there was no earlier building on the site except for a small sanctuarythat was burned when the Persians occupied Athens in 480 BC. (based on a wikipedia article / cc by-sa)
23. Temple of Olympian Zeus (Greece)
Temple of Olympian Zeus in AthensTemple of Olympian Zeus in Athens [ Photo by Marcok di it.wikipedia / CC BY-SA 2.5 ]
Satellite ImageryThe Temple of Olympian Zeus (Greek: Ναὸς τοῦ Ὀλυμπίου Διός, Naos tou Olympiou Dios), also known as the Olympieion or Columns of the Olympian Zeus, is a colossal ruined temple in the centre of the Greek capital Athens that was dedicated to Zeus, king of the Olympian gods. Construction began in the 6th century BC during the rule of the Athenian tyrants, who envisaged building the greatest temple in the ancient world, but it was not completed until the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century AD some 638 years after the project had begun. During the Roman periods it was renowned as the largest temple in Greece and housed one of the largest cult statues in the ancient world. (based on a wikipedia article / cc by-sa)
24. Ajanta Caves (India)
Ajanta caves, MaharashtraAjanta caves, Maharashtra [ Photo by Soman / CC BY-SA 3.0 ]
Satellite ImageryThe Ajanta Caves (Ajiṇṭhā leni; Marathi: अजिंठा लेणी) in Maharashtra, India are 31 rock-cut cave monuments which date from the 2nd century BCE. The caves include paintings and sculptures considered to be masterpieces of both Buddhist religious art (which depict the Jataka tales) as well as frescos which are reminiscent of the Sigiriya paintings in Sri Lanka. The caves were built in two phases starting around 200 BCE, with the second group of caves built around 600 CE. Cave 2, adjacent to Cave 1, is known for the paintings that have been preserved on its walls, ceilings, and pillars. It looks similar to Cave 1 and is in a better state of preservation. The paintings on the ceilings and walls of this porch have been widely published. (based on a wikipedia article / cc by-sa)
25. Elephanta Caves (India)
One of the many lingam shrines in Elephanta caves complex. This one is located in the main hall of cave number 1.One of the many lingam shrines in Elephanta caves complex. This one is located in the main hall of cave number 1. [ Photo by Sivaraj / CC BY-SA 3.0 ]
Satellite ImageryThe Elephanta Caves (Marathi: घारापुरीची लेणी, Gharapurichya Lenee) are a network of sculpted caves located on Elephanta Island, or Gharapuri (literally "the city of caves") in Mumbai Harbour, 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) to the east of the city of Mumbai in the Indian state of Maharashtra. The island, located on an arm of the Arabian Sea, consists of two groups of caves—the first is a large group of five Hindu caves, the second, a smaller group of two Buddhist caves. The Hindu caves contain rock cut stone sculptures, representing the Shaiva Hindu sect, dedicated to the god Shiva. Since no inscriptions on any of the caves on the island have been discovered, the ancient history of the island is conjectural, at best. (based on a wikipedia article / cc by-sa)
26. Borobudur (Indonesia)
Borobudur stupas overlooking a mountain. For centuries, it was desertedBorobudur stupas overlooking a mountain. For centuries, it was deserted [ Photo by Heaven's Army / CC BY 3.0 ]
Satellite ImageryBorobudur, or Barabudur, is a 9th-century Mahayana Buddhist monument near Magelang, Central Java, Indonesia. The monument comprises six square platforms topped by three circular platforms, and is decorated with 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues. A main dome, located at the center of the top platform, is surrounded by 72 Buddha statues seated inside perforated stupa. Evidence suggests Borobudur was abandoned following the 14th-century decline of Buddhist and Hindu kingdoms in Java, and the Javanese conversion to Islam. Worldwide knowledge of its existence was sparked in 1814 by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, then the British ruler of Java, who was advised of its location by native Indonesians. Borobudur has since been preserved through several restorations. (based on a wikipedia article / cc by-sa)
27. Persepolis (Iran)
Gate of All Nations, Persepolis - Iran.Gate of All Nations, Persepolis – Iran. [ Photo by Ggia / CC BY-SA 3.0 ]
Satellite ImageryPersepolis (Old Persian �������� Pārsa, Takht-e Jamshid or Chehel Minar) was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire (ca. 550-330 BCE). Persepolis is situated 70 km northeast of the modern city of Shiraz in the Fars Province of modern Iran. In contemporary Persian, the site is known as Takht-e Jamshid (Throne of Jamshid) and Parseh. The earliest remains of Persepolis date from around 515 BCE. To the ancient Persians, the city was known as Pārsa, which means "The City of Persians". Persepolis is a transliteration of the Greek Πέρσης πόλις (Persēs polis: "Persian city"). (based on a wikipedia article / cc by-sa)
28. Chogha Zanbil (Iran)
Choghazanbil Ziggurat, Iran.Choghazanbil Ziggurat, Iran. [ Photo by Zereshk / CC BY-SA 3.0 ]
Satellite ImageryChogha Zanbil (Persian: چغازنبيل); Elamite: Dur Untash) is an ancient Elamite complex in the Khuzestan province of Iran. It is one of the few existent ziggurats outside of Mesopotamia. It lies approximately 42 kilometeres South Southwest of Dezfoul, 30 kilometres West of Susa and 80 kilometres North of Ahvaz. Choga Zambil means 'basket mound.' It was built about 1250 BC by the king Untash-Napirisha, mainly to honor the great god Inshushinak. Its original name was Dur Untash, which means 'town of Untash', but it is unlikely that many people, besides priests and servants, ever lived there. The complex is protected by three concentric walls which define the main areas of the 'town'. (based on a wikipedia article /cc by-sa)
29. Mellifont Abbey (Ireland)
Mellifont Abbey 13th century lavaboMellifont Abbey 13th century lavabo [ Photo by Brholden / public domain ]
Satellite ImageryMellifont Abbey (Irish: An Mhainistir Mhór, literally "the big abbey"), located in County Louth, was the first Cistercian abbey to be built in Ireland. Founded in 1142 on the orders of Saint Malachy, Archbishop of Armagh, Mellifont Abbey sits on the banks of the River Mattock, some ten km (6 miles) north-west of Drogheda. By 1170, Mellifont had one hundred monks and three hundred lay brothers. The Abbey became the model for other Cistercian abbeys built in Ireland, with its formal style of architecture imported from the abbeys of the same order in France; it was the main abbey in Ireland until it was closed in 1539, when it became a fortified house. (based on a wikipedia article / cc by-sa)
30. Skellig Michael (Ireland)
Skellig Michael, an island 12 km west of County Kerry in Ireland.Skellig Michael, an island 12 km west of County Kerry in Ireland. [ Photo by Gdr / CC BY-SA 3.0 ]
Satellite ImagerySkellig Michael (from Sceilig Mhichíl in the Irish language, meaning Michael's rock), also known as Great Skellig, is a steep rocky island in the Atlantic Ocean about 9 miles (14.5 kilometres) from the coast of County Kerry, Ireland. It is the larger of the two Skellig Islands. After probably being founded in the 7th century, for 600 years the island was a centre of monastic life for Irish Christian monks. The Gaelic monastery, which is situated almost at the summit of the 230-metre-high rock became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. It is one of Europe's better known but least accessible monasteries. Since the extreme remoteness of Skellig Michael has until recently discouraged visitors, the site is exceptionally well preserved. The very spartan conditions inside the monastery illustrate the ascetic lifestyle practiced by early Irish Christians. (based on a wikipedia article / cc by-sa)
31. Rock of Cashel (Ireland)
The tower at CashelThe tower at Cashel [ Photo by Russ Hamer / CC BY-SA 3.0 ]
Satellite ImageryThe Rock of Cashel (Irish: Carraig Phádraig), also known as Cashel of the Kings and St. Patrick's Rock, is a historic site in Ireland's province of Munster, located at Cashel, South Tipperary. The Rock of Cashel was the traditional seat of the kings of Munster for several hundred years prior to the Norman invasion. Few remnants of the early structures survive; the majority of buildings on the current site date from the 12th and 13th centuries. Cashel is reputed to be the site of the conversion of the King of Munster by St. Patrick in the 5th century. The picturesque complex has a character of its own and is one of the most remarkable collections of Celtic art and medieval architecture to be found anywhere in Europe. According to local mythology, the Rock of Cashel originated in the Devil's Bit, a mountain 30 km north of Cashel when St. (based on a wikipedia article / cc by-sa)
32. Croagh Patrick (Ireland)
The summit cairn The 'unofficial' summit of Croagh PatrickThe summit cairn The 'unofficial' summit of Croagh Patrick [ Photo by Bob Shires / CC BY-SA 2.0 ]
Satellite ImageryCroagh Patrick (Irish: Cruach Phádraig), nicknamed the Reek, is a 764 metres (2,507 ft) tall mountain and an important site of pilgrimage in County Mayo, Republic of Ireland. It is 8 kilometres (5 mi) from Westport, above the villages of Murrisk and Lecanvey. It is the third highest mountain in County Mayo after Mweelrea and Nephin. On "Reek Sunday", the last Sunday in July every year, over 15,000 pilgrims climb it. It forms the southern part of a U-shaped valley created by a glacier flowing into Clew Bay in the last Ice Age. Croagh Patrick is part of a longer east-west ridge; the westernmost peak is called Ben Gorm. Croagh Patrick comes from the Irish Cruach Phádraig meaning "(Saint) Patrick's stack". It is known locally as "the Reek", a Hiberno-English word for a "rick" or "stack". (based on a wikipedia article / cc by-sa)
33. Al Khazneh (Jordan)
Petra is an extraordinary archaeological site in southwestern Jordan, lying on the slope of Mount Hor in a basin among the mountains which form the eastern flank of Arabah (Wadi Araba), the large valley running from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba.Petra is an extraordinary archaeological site in southwestern Jordan, lying on the slope of Mount Hor in a basin among the mountains which form the eastern flank of Arabah (Wadi Araba), the large valley running from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba. [ Photo by Rcastino / CC BY-SA 3.0 ]
Satellite ImageryAl Khazneh ("The Treasury"; Arabic: الخزنة‎) is one of the most elaborate buildings in the ancient Jordanian city of Petra. As with most of the other buildings in this ancient town, including the Monastery (Arabic: Ad Deir), this structure was also carved out of a sandstone rock face. It has classical Greek-influenced architecture, and it is a popular tourist attraction. It is unknown as to why Al Khazneh was originally built, probably between 100 BC and AD 200. Its Arabic name Treasury derives from one legend that bandits or pirates hid their loot in a stone urn high on the second level. Significant damage from bullets can be seen on the urn. (based on a wikipedia article / cc by-sa)
34. Jerash (Jordan)
General view of the cardo maximus of Jerash, JordanGeneral view of the cardo maximus of Jerash, Jordan [ Photo by Bernard Gagnon / CC BY-SA 3.0 ]
Satellite ImageryJerash, the Gerasa of Antiquity, is the capital and largest city of Jerash Governorate (محافظة جرش), which is situated in the north of Jordan, 48 kilometres (30 mi) north of the capital Amman towards Syria. Jerash Governorate's geographical features vary from cold mountains to fertile valleys from 250 to 300 metres (820 to 980 ft) above sea level), suitable for growing a wide variety of crops. Jerash was the home of Nicomachus of Gerasa (Greek: Νικόμαχος) (c. 60 – c. 120) who is known for his works Introduction to Arithmetic (Arithmetike eisagoge), The Manual of Harmonics and The Theology of Numbers. Recent excavations show that Jerash was already inhabited during the Bronze Age (3200 BC – 1200 BC). (based on a wikipedia article / cc by-sa)
35. Tyre, Lebanon (Lebanon)
The fantastic remains of the ancient Triumphal Arch in Tyre, Lebanon.The fantastic remains of the ancient Triumphal Arch in Tyre, Lebanon. [ Photo by David Bjorgen / CC BY-SA 2.5 ]
Satellite ImageryTyre (Arabic: صور, Ṣūr; Phoenician:, Ṣur; Hebrew: צוֹר‎‎, Tzor; Tiberian Hebrew צר, Ṣōr; Akkadian: ���� Ṣurru; Greek: Τύρος, Týros; Turkish: Sur; Latin: Tyrus) is a city in the South Governorate of Lebanon. There were approximately 117,000 inhabitants in 2003, however, the government of Lebanon has released only rough estimates of population numbers since 1932, so an accurate statistical accounting is not possible. Tyre juts out from the coast of the Mediterranean and is located about 80 km (50 mi) south of Beirut. The name of the city means "rock" after the rocky formation on which the town was originally built. The adjective for Tyre is Tyrian, and the inhabitants are Tyrians. (based on awikipedia article / cc by-sa)
36. Baalbek (Lebanon)
Temple of BacchusTemple of Bacchus [ Photo by BlingBling10 / CC BY-SA 3.0 ]
Satellite ImageryBaalbek (Arabic: بعلبك‎) is a town in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon, altitude 1,170 metres (3,840 ft), situated east of the Litani River. It is famous for its exquisitely detailed yet monumentally scaled temple ruins of the Roman period, when Baalbek, then known as Heliopolis, was one of the largest sanctuaries in the Empire. It is Lebanon's greatest Roman treasure, and it can be counted among the wonders of the ancient world. It contains the largest and most noble Roman temples ever built, and they are among the best preserved. The city, then known as Heliopolis (there was another Heliopolis in Egypt), was made a colonia by Septimius Severus in AD 193, having been part of the territory of Berytus on the Phoenician coast since 15 BC. Work on the religious complex there lasted over a century and a half and was never completed. (based on a wikipedia article / cc by-sa)
37. Palenque (Mexico)
Ruins of PalenqueRuins of Palenque [ Photo by Jan Harenburg / CC BY 3.0 ]
Satellite ImageryPalenque (Bàak' in Modern Maya) was a Maya city state in southern Mexico that flourished in the 7th century. The Palenque ruins date back to 100 BC to its fall around 800 AD. After its decline it was absorbed into the jungle, which is made up of cedar, mahogany, and sapodilla trees, but has been excavated and restored and is now a famous archaeological site attracting thousands of visitors. It is located near the Usumacinta River in the Mexican state of Chiapas, located about 130 km south of Ciudad del Carmen (see map) about 150 meters above sea-level. It stays at a humid 79 degrees Fahrenheit with roughly 85 inches of rain a year. Palenque is a medium-sized site, much smaller than such huge sites as Tikal or Copán, but it contains some of the finest architecture, sculpture, roof comb and bas-relief carvings that the Mayas produced. (based on a wikipedia article / cc by-sa)
38. Uxmal (Mexico)
Pyramid of the Magician, Uxmal, YucantanPyramid of the Magician, Uxmal, Yucantan [ Photo by Sybz / CC BY-SA 3.0 ]
Satellite ImageryUxmal (Yucatec Maya: Óoxmáal) is a large pre-Columbian ruined city of the Maya civilization in the state of Yucatán, Mexico. It is 78 km south of Mérida, Yucatán, or 110 km from that city on Highway 261 towards Campeche, Campeche), 15 km south-southeast of the town of Muna and in the municipality of Santa Elena. Uxmal is in English. The place name is Pre-Columbian and it is usually assumed to be an archaic Maya language phrase meaning "Built Three Times", although some scholars[which?] of the Maya language dispute this derivation. Uxmal hold some of the most complex and beautiful examples of the regional Puuc-style architecture, and its magnificent pyramids and structures make it a popular tourist destination. (based on a wikipedia article / cc by-sa)
39. Chichen Itza (Mexico)
The Castle (El Castillo) at the World Heritage Site Chichen Itza.The Castle (El Castillo) at the World Heritage Site Chichen Itza. [ Photo by Bjørn Christian Tørrissen / CC BY-SA 3.0 ]
Satellite ImageryChichen Itzais a large pre-Columbian archaeological site built by the Maya civilization located in the northern center of the Yucatán Peninsula, in the Yucatán state, present-day Mexico. Chichen Itza rose to regional prominence towards the end of the Early Classic period (roughly 600 AD). It was, however, towards the end of the Late Classic and into the early part of the Terminal Classic that the site became a major regional capital, centralizing and dominating political, sociocultural, economic, and ideological life in the northern Maya lowlands. The ascension of Chichen Itza roughly correlates with the decline and fragmentation of the major centers of the southern Maya lowlands. Dominating the center of Chichén is the Temple of Kukulkan (the Maya name for Quetzalcoatl), often referred to as "El Castillo" (the castle). (based on awikipedia article / cc by-sa)
40. Machu Picchu (Peru)
Machu Picchu's sunset panoramaMachu Picchu's sunset panorama [ Photo by Martin St-Amant / CC BY-SA 3.0 DEED.FR ]
Satellite ImageryMachu Picchu (Quechua: Machu Pikchu, "Old Peaks") is a pre-Columbian 15th-century Inca site located 2,430 metres (7,970 ft) above sea level. It is situated on a mountain ridge above the Urubamba Valley in Peru, which is 80 kilometres (50 mi) northwest of Cusco and through which the Urubamba River flows. Most archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was built as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438–1472). Often referred to as "The Lost City of the Incas", it is perhaps the most familiar icon of the Inca World. The Incas started building the "estate" around AD 1400 but abandoned it as an official site for the Inca rulers a century later at the time of the Spanish Conquest. (based on awikipedia article / cc by-sa)
41. Ring of Brodgar (Scotland)
ring of brodgarring of brodgar [ Photo by Paddy Patterson from Ayr, Scotland / CC BY 2.0 ]
Satellite ImageryThe Ring of Brodgar (or Brogar, or Ring o' Brodgar) is a Neolithic henge and stone circle on the Mainland, the largest island in Orkney, Scotland. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the Heart of Neolithic Orkney The Ring of Brodgar (or Brogar, or Ring o' Brodgar) is a Neolithic henge and stone circle in Orkney, Scotland. Most henges don't contain stone circles; Brodgar is a striking exception, ranking with Avebury (and to a lesser extent Stonehenge) among the greatest of such sites. The ring of stones stands on a small isthmus between the Lochs of Stenness and Harray. These are the northernmost examples of circle henges in Britain. (based on a wikipedia article / cc by-sa)
42. Apamea (Syria)
Cardo maximus of, SyriaCardo maximus of, Syria [ Photo by Bernard Gagnon / CC BY-SA 3.0 ]
Satellite ImageryApamea (Greek: Απάμεια, Apameia; Arabic: آفاميا‎, Afamia) was a treasure city and stud-depot of the Seleucid kings, was capital of Apamene, on the right bank of the Orontes River. (Steph. B. s. v.; Strabo xvi. p. 752; Ptolemy v. 15. § 19; Festus Avienus, v. 1083; Anton. Itin.; Hierocles). Its site is found about 55 km (34 mi) to the northwest of Hama, Syria, overlooking the Ghab valley. Previously known as Pharmake, it was fortified and enlarged by Seleucus I Nicator in 300 BC, who so named it after his Bactrian wife, Apama – not his mother, as Stephanus asserts; compare Strabo, p. 578). In pursuance of his policy of Hellenizing Syria, it bore the Macedonian name of Pella. (based on a wikipedia article / cc by-sa)
43. Dura-Europos (Syria)
Dura - Europos, Syria - the temple of BelDura – Europos, Syria – the temple of Bel [ Photo by Heretiq / CC BY-SA 2.5 ]
Satellite ImageryDura-Europos (Greek: Δούρα Ευρωπός), also spelled Dura-Europus, was a Hellenistic, Parthian and Roman border city built on an escarpment ninety meters above the right bank of the Euphrates river. It is located near the village of Salhiyé, in today's Syria. During the later 2nd century BC it came under Parthian control and in the 1st century BC, it served as a frontier fortress of the Arsacid Parthian Empire, with a multicultural population, as inscriptions in Greek, Latin, Aramaic, Hebrew, Syriac, Hatrian, Palmyrenean, Middle Persian and Safaitic Pahlavi testify. It was captured by the Romans in 165 and abandoned after a Sassanian siege in 256-257. After it was abandoned, it was covered by sand and mud and disappeared from sight. (based on a wikipedia article / cc by-sa)
44. Bosra (Syria)
Roman theatre in Bosra, Syria.Roman theatre in Bosra, Syria. [ Photo by Georgios / free for use ]
Satellite ImageryBosra (Arabic: بصرى‎, also Bostra, Busrana, Bozrah, Bozra, Busra Eski Şam, Busra ash-Sham, Nova Trajana Bostra) is an ancient city administratively belonging to the Daraa Governorate in southern Syria. It is a major archaeological site and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The settlement was first mentioned in the documents of Tutmose III and Akhenaton (14th century BC). Bosra was the first Nabatean city in the 2nd century BC. The Nabatean Kingdom was conquered by Cornelius Palma, a general of Trajan, in 106. Under the Roman Empire, Bosra was renamed Nova Trajana Bostra, and was the residence of the legio III Cyrenaica and capital of the Roman province Arabia Petraea. The city flourished and became a major metropolis at the juncture of several trade routes, including the Roman road to the Red Sea. (based on a wikipedia article / cc by-sa)
45. Carthage (Tunisia)
Thermes of Antoninus Pius, CarthageThermes of Antoninus Pius, Carthage [ Photo by BishkekRocks / public domain ]
Satellite ImageryCarthage (Latin: Carthago or Karthago, Ancient Greek: Καρχηδών Karkhēdōn, Arabic: قرطاج Qarṭāj‎, Berber: ⴽⴰⵔⵜⴰⵊⴻⵏ Kartajen, Etruscan: *Carθaza, Modern Hebrew: קרתגו‎ Qartágo, from the Phoenician Qart-ḥadašt meaning New City (Hebrew: Qert Ḥdaša), implying it was a 'new Tyre') is a major urban centre that has existed for nearly 3,000 years on the Gulf of Tunis, developing from a Phoenician colony of the 1st millennium BC which has given place to the current suburb outside Tunis, Tunisia, with a population (2004 Census) of 20,715. (based on a wikipedia article / cc by-sa)
46. Akdamar Island (Turkey)
Church of the Holy Cross on Aghtamar Island, lake Van.Church of the Holy Cross on Aghtamar Island, lake Van. [ Photo by Mightier than the sword / public domain ]
Satellite ImageryAkdamar Islandis the second by size of four islands in Lake Van in the south of Eastern Anatolia Region, Turkey, about 0.7 km2 in size, situated about 3 km from the shoreline. At the western end of the island a hard, grey, limestone cliff rises 80 m above the lake's level (1,912 m above sea level). The island declines to the east to a level site where a spring provides ample water. It is home to a tenth century Armenian Cathedral church, known as the Cathedral Church of the Holy Cross (915-921), and was the seat of an Armenian Catholicos from 1116 to 1895. The origin and meaning of the island's name is unknown, but is often attributed to an old Armenian legend. According to the tale, an Armenian princess named Tamar lived on the island and was in love with a commoner. (based on a wikipedia article / cc by-sa)
47. Library of Celsus (Turkey)
The Celsius Library in the ancient city of Ephesus, Turkey.The Celsius Library in the ancient city of Ephesus, Turkey. [ Photo by Djenan Kozic / CC BY-SA 3.0 ]
Satellite ImageryThe library of Celsus is an ancient building in Ephesus, Anatolia, now part of Turkey. It was built in honor of Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus (completed in 135 AD) by Celsus’ son, Gaius Julius Aquila (consul, 110 AD). Celsus had been consul in 92 AD, governor of Asia in 115 AD, and a wealthy and popular local citizen. The library was built to store 12,000 scrolls and to serve as a monumental tomb for Celsus. It was unusual to be buried within a library or even within city limits, so this was a special honor for Celsus. The building is important as one of few remaining examples of an ancient Roman-influenced library. It also shows that public libraries were built not only in Rome itself but throughout the Roman Empire. (based on a wikipedia article / cc by-sa)
48. Mỹ Sơn (Vietnam)
My Son temple detail.My Son temple detail. [ Photo by AJ Oswald / CC BY-SA 2.0 ]
Satellite ImageryMỹ Sơnis a cluster of abandoned and partially ruined Hindu temples constructed between the 4th and the 14th century AD by the kings of Champa (Chiêm Thành in Vietnamese). The temples are dedicated to the worship of the god Shiva, known under various local names, the most important of which is "Bhadresvara." Mỹ Sơn is located near the village of Duy Phú, in the administrative district of Duy Xuyên in Quảng Nam province in Central Vietnam, 69 km southwest of Da Nang, and approximately 10 km from the historic town of Trà Kiệu. The temples are in a valley roughly two kilometres wide that is surrounded by two mountain ranges


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